Dear all future goers,
To those who are crazy enough to go on this adventure…to those who are ready to have their world rocked by God… to those who want to serve the Lord whole–heartedly, here are a few thoughts for you,
Before you go, be ready to have God show you some things about yourself while you’re overseas. He might show you the good, the bad, or the ugly. But don’t just see it, accept it and then ask God how to have a heart more like His. As much as this experience is about serving, it’s also about God teaching your more about yourself.
Be ready to lower your expectations and be open-minded. Jesus didn’t fit into the box that people expected Him to fit in. Jesus went out of the box, oh man, He went WAY out of the box. For me, lowering my expectations, allowed God to show me how to live, work, and experience an even bigger life overseas than I ever would have experienced. As you know, there will be good days and bad days. And it’s okay, to want to stay in your apartment for a day and eat chocolate and ice cream. It’s okay to go to the movies. And it’s okay to struggle between the culture you came from and the culture you’re adjusting into. Those are things you must figure out for yourself, no one can give you a guide on what you must do. Seek the Lord in those times, and if you seek Him with your whole heart you will find Him. (Jeremiah 29:13).
My perception of missions had to be stripped away, and I had to be retaught what living missionally even was. It wasn’t going over to some country and giving everything I had to help the poorest of the poor. I had to be retaught patience and what it looked like to seek God first and foremost. That is what God desires from us the most isn’t it? That we can pour into others and be a light in the darkness, BECAUSE of our love for Jesus. It’s what fuels us! Living missionally is how we love the people we live and work with. It’s sharing our love and hope we have in Jesus to the rich as well as the poor. It’s expecting the Holy Spirit to guide us and move, even if it ruins the plans we had set for the day. It’s pouring your heart out in prayer, for God to move in this world and show mercy upon people from the East to the West.
And finally, if you're like me, be ready to cry when you have to leave. You might be crying because of the people you’ll be leaving, the relationships where friends have become like your family abroad. You might be crying with happiness to be done, but know that crying is good. It means that you felt deeply, experienced life, and put forth all of your effort to serve in God’s Kingdom. It might mean that you had a painful time and God taught you a lot about yourself. You may not have seen results like you wanted, but know with 100% certainty that when you followed God into the opportunities He set before you, and you served hard, know that you made a difference in people’s lives, and you made a difference for the Kingdom of God. That’s 100% guarantee.
Best of Luck, have fun, and remember it's ALL for God's Glory!